|Photo by Michael M. Collins|
Friday's post drew out the true-life testimonies of two CTC readers -- convincing proof once again that Ringtail isn't a fairy tale fabrication.
Entomologist Michael Collins' comment brought back fond memories of collecting days with some mutual friends and mentors, and it came with the photographic proof seen above.
Here's his tale . . .
"I had in 1988 a humorous encounter with a ringtail while blacklighting near Lake Pena Blanca in the Atascosa Mts. west of Nogales AZ .
It was a moon-less night, best for blacklighting for saturniid moths (my specialty), and the world was very dark beyond the blue glow of the light and sheet.
Nevertheless, I thought I saw a shape quickly moving through the brush, right at the edge of the steep rocky cliff near which I had set up my light.
I began shooting in the direction of the movement with my Nikon film camera, not sure I had recorded anything.
I did notice that several large sphinx moths began disappearing from the ground around the sheet!
On getting the prints back a week later I first admired the thick black-and-white tail that I captured exiting the frame, flipped through the prints, and found I had by good luck caught a ringtail in decent focus, who was in turn focused on taking the best moth specimens that were coming in.
These neat little animals are probably common in the Yuba River canyon near my home in Nevada City, where 49er prospectors called them "miner's cats", but I have never seen one in the wild in all this time in California.
The Arizona sighting was a rare and special treat."
If it's scientific exploration in the field that turns you buy Dr Collins' memoir -- Moth Catcher: An Evolutionist's Journey Through Canyon And Pass, and check other interesting titles listed in the University of Nevada Press's Holiday Sale (click on Sale). The prices are right!
And thank you, Michael, for sharing that evocative memory.